The phrase “no man is an island” exists for a reason. We rely on other people constantly in our lives. The people in the postal service bring us our mail, our local business owners provide us with the things we need, and our neighbors help us out in a pinch. The same has largely held true in the entertainment world. Literally hundreds of people are involved with bringing the latest superhero to the big screen, from the actors and directors all the way down to the dude who makes sure the star knows how to pronounce the name of the big plot device. In music, there’s a whole string of musicians, producers, and writers that an artist can work with to craft a song. In recent years, that model in music has loosened. Those producers and writers are still valuable, but an artist in 2018 can have more control over their careers than ever before. No one knows that better than Bryce Vine. Over the years, he’s been making his infectious brand of music, a central tenant has emerged for the 29-year-old artist. Vine is making the music he wants and having fun the only way he knows how: on his own terms.
Vine has had a busy time when Substream talks to him in early November. Most immediately, he has just flow back to his current residence in L.A. after performing a show in Boston and hasn’t completely gotten over the jet lag. “I flew like 12 hours in 32 hours, something like that. It’s been a lot,” he says as he stifles a yawn. On a larger scale, he’s spent the last few months of 2017 enjoying the success of his latest single named after the actress most recently seen literally eating people in the super-underrated Santa Clarita Diet, “Drew Barrymore.”
The new single is a perfect gateway into Vine’s music. A dreamy, electronically-tinged instrumental sounds like how summer feels, and serves as backdrop for Vine to both rap and croon over. The hook is as impeccable as any you’re ever going to hear, with Vine singing “You’re the next Drew Barry, and I want more.” The song has gained significant traction on Spotify, something Vine is thrilled about. “It was cool this song got so much attention because it took some figuring out to get it right, so it’s good we took the time to make sure everything fit together well,” he says. It’s also just one song in a lifetime of Vine doing exactly what he wants to with his music.
For Vine, making music has always been both fun and a career goal. “I didn’t ever separate that,” he says, recalling seeing a comedian with a guitar on television when he was 13 and envisioning himself being able to create for a living. Vine remembers thinking, “I want to be able to do that, I want to just have that option.” He also says that music has always affected him intensely, and being able to create music that moved him has been an incredible form of self-therapy for him. That it results in his fans also being able to connect and feel good with his music is icing on the cake. “It was always about having songs that were fun to sing,” Vine says.
Even though he’s released two EPs (2014’s Lazy Fair and 2016’s Night Circus), Vine still goes through what all creatives experience: being your own harshest critic. “Just because I have confirmation that I’m good at it doesn’t mean I don’t feel insecure when someone doesn’t like it,” he reveals. We talk about the nagging voice in the back of our heads that we have, the voice that, as Vine jokes, goes, “But what if everything up to this point you’ve been dead wrong about?” Everyone reading this can probably relate, and Vine says that he has gotten better at suppressing that voice as his career and confidence build.
With a career and a musical process that he clearly takes meticulous care of and is heavily involved in, we asked Vine if that level of planning and routine is something that began with his personal life. He laughed for a second before giving his answer, which is simply, “No.” It’s something that he has to try to work on, and he says that 2017 especially found him focusing on getting better at it. His focus involved buckling down and ditching some distractions. “I stopped drinking. I quit all nicotine products because I was carrying around an e-cig for like four years, which was so whack,” he says.
With those things out of his life, Vine knew that he had to create a routine in order to take himself to the next level. He began waking up at a set time and starting his mornings with a regular process of working out and reading. After that was studio time every day, even if nothing came of it, although that could be frustrating for Vine. “When you get stuck and you don’t feel the inspiration, it’s very hard to not try to distract yourself,” he explains. Creating a routine that he forced himself to follow every day allowed Vine to move past those distractions and stay focused until the music started to come to him. Vine reveals, “It generated into something new and I figured out even more, and the words just started to come out of me even quicker.” Vine likes to have fun, but talking to him it’s clear that the fun never comes at the expense of his work ethic, and in fact, the two things are closely related.
That follows through into Vine’s live shows as well. There’s a great deal of planning and thought put into his setlist, but Vine wants it to be perfect because he wants to give his fans a place that feels like home. When asked about what he hopes people take away from his shows, Vine answers, “a place that feels like you can just totally feel like everyone’s in this together.” Vine remembers going to concerts (specifically Third Eye Blind) in his youth and feeling like everyone was there for the same reason and everyone understood each other, and he wants to create that as well. “You have to make that space, so I’m a fool on stage,” he says with a chuckle, and he hopes by being a fool on stage he gives everyone at the show permission to let loose as well.
While 2017 was a big year for Vine, he’s by no means done yet. He’s anticipating bigger crowds, bigger excitement, bigger everything. With how glowingly he talks about his team and how hard he works to bring his brand of fun and music to life, Vine is more equipped than most to go out and turn those dreams into reality. Vine is proof that if you have a vision for what you want to do, you can still work with all the people you want to and do things exactly your way without compromising your vision. When asked if he has a goal for 2018, Vine’s answer is four words, “Yeah, man: world domination.” We’re inclined to believe he’s going to make it happen. His way, of course.